JANUARY 5, 2017 — For the first time in 17 years, Japan's shipbuilders have ended the year with a larger order backlog than their South Korean competitors, reports the Yonhap news agency.
Yonhap cites estimates from Clarkson Research Services put South Korea's backlogged orders at 19.91 million compensated gross tons (CGT) as of end of December 2016, below a projected 20.64 million CGT for Japan.
That leaves both countries trailing China, which retains the lead with an estimated backlog of 30 million cgt.
South Korea had been able to sustain an annual order backlog of 30 million CGT throughout 2015, but the number plunged each month in 2016. Japan's backlog also fell from the 25.55 million CGT of December 2015, but the pace of the fall was less severe than Korea's.
As we reported earlier, in a symbol of the tough times facing Korean shipbuilders, a 700 ton gantry crane at Sungdong Heavy Industries' Masan shipyard has been sold at scrap value to a local demolition firm which has resold it to a Romanian shipyard, according to the Korean Economic Daily.
The sale is a reminder of the sale of the giant Kockums crane that was a landmark of Malmö, Sweden until the summer of 2002, when it was shipped to Ulsan, Korea, after being sold to Hyundai Heavy Industries for $14 million.
The Koreans dubbed that crane the "Tears of Malmö."